»Portland Public Schools’ lowest-paid workers have the day off Monday, Jan. 21, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But, unlike all other district employees, those 186 food-service workers won’t be paid for the holiday. And that’s become a sticking point for their union, SEIU Local 503. The union has been trying to make MLK Day a paid holiday for its members since the contract between the district and its cafeteria workers expired in June (see “Food Fight,” WW, Oct. 31, 2007). The latest district offer did include the possibility of a paid MLK holiday for food-service workers, but the proposal came attached to strings the union didn’t like. Alison Dow, who runs the cafeteria at Alameda Elementary School, says, “To the people Martin Luther King stood up for, they’re saying, ‘We don’t care.’”
»One more MLK item. While board members from Portland Public Schools met Monday night at Jefferson High School , two people of color outside the meeting kept alive an old dream: renaming Jeff for someone other than a slave master. One of them, former City Council and mayoral candidate Clifford Walker, tells Murmurs that, “When we talk about Jeffersonian democracy, what we’re really talking about is apartheid. If there were a father of racism in the United States of America, it would be Thomas Jefferson.” Walker’s suggestions for new names? Walnut Park High, after the school’s North Portland neighborhood, or Paul Robeson High, after the actor and civil-rights activist.
»When he ran for governor in 2006, state Sen. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) wouldn’t disclose the nature of his non-legislative consulting business or name any clients. Last October, however, Atkinson called and emailed Oregon Department of Energy director Mike Grainey about rules governing new tax-break legislation (see “Windfarm Windfall,”) on behalf of his “industry partners.” Atkinson, a member of the Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee and interim Revenue Committee, used a private email address and listed a private phone number as contact info. Two fellow senators say it would be “highly unusual” for a lawmaker to try to influence a state agency as a private citizen. But Ethics Commission director Ron Bersin says state law prohibiting lawmakers from lobbying applies to legislation before its passage—not afterward during rule-making. Atkinson didn’t respond to requests for comment.
»Portland Monthly mag will soon have a new editor. After two-plus years at the helm, Ted Katauskas will return to what he says is his “dream job”: writing long-form narrative for PM as its editor-at-large. Katauskas, once WW’ s Outdoors columnist, began working at PM as a writer and “took on more and more management duties over time.” The monthly mag is conducting a national search for his successor.
»Last week’s cover story, “Trial by Facebook,” generated more than 162 comments at wweek.com by press time and a new Facebook page that blasts the writer of the piece. Called “Beth Slovic is a Piece of Shit Journalist,” the new group had 77 members as of Tuesday. That’s more members than the original Facebook group that prompted the WW story, about a Lewis&Clark college student who was suspended after another student alleged on a Facebook page she’d been sexually assaulted by him.
»No nudes is good nudes: At the Jan. 9 City Council hearing on Commissioner Sam Adams’ $463 million “Safe, Sound and Green” streets proposal, Commissioner Randy Leonard got into it with Oregon Petroleum Association rep Paul Romain . The OPA opposes Adams’ local “street maintenance fee” proposal, but supports a statewide gas-tax increase for transportation funding. Leonard said Romain’s support for a gas-tax hike was disingenuous, given previous industry efforts to block one. Romain insisted he was sincere. “I don’t know what else I can do besides rip off my clothes and stand here naked —” the gangly lobbyist said, at which point someone in the audience blurted, “Please, don’t!”
»File this one under “hedging your bets.” Portland real-estate mogul Homer Williams last year gave the maximum $2,300 campaign donation to two presidential candidates: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). Why the split ticket? Reached by phone in Chicago, where Williams said he was “talking to institutions and things, trying to figure out where the world is going for the next 24 months,” Williams told Murmurs that he supports Edwards (his second choice is U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). The McCain donation was made on behalf of his wife, former NASA flight trainer Carol Williams.