Portland City Council will hold a lengthy work session on Tues. Feb. 15 beginning at 9:30 am on the question of whether to rejoin the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Presenting their case at that meeting, will be interim U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton (above), who wants the city in the JTTF; and ACLU director Dave Dave Fidanque along with his allies opposed to the city rejoining the JTTF. The council will not take public testimony at that meeting but one interested party has weighed in with them in advance.
Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon wrote [PDF] to all five commissioners last week, urging Portland to join up.
"As a neighbor, and a Sheriff who has committed investigators to the JTTF for many years, I thought it might be helpful to share some insight from our experiences by addressing a few of the criticisms raised by opponents of the JTTF," Gordon wrote in a Feb 2. letter.
After addressing those specific concerns, most having to do with whether the JTTF endangers Oregonians' civil rights, Gordon concluded with this observation: "We are involved in other regional task forces comprised of members from PPB, Federal and other local agencies on priorities from drug trafficking to sex trafficking. It makes no sense that with the most potent threat to public safety—terrorism—we insist on working in silos."
Here's a release from City Hall on next week's hearing:
Portland, Ore. — Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) review effort continues with a four-hour City Council work session slated for Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.
City staff has confirmed the roster of experts attending to present testimony and answer questions. Slated to testify on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are Mike German, David Fidanque, and Andrea Meyer. Slated to testify on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice are Valerie Caproni, Todd Hinnen, Dwight Holton, and Arthur Balizan. Biographical information on each of the presenters is provided below.
“I look forward to getting Portlanders’ tough questions answered,” said Mayor Adams. “This work session is an integral part of the city’s transparent review effort and a rare opportunity to hear from national experts on these issues.”
Like any other Council work session, Tuesday’s work session is a public meeting. However, it is not a public hearing. In place of public testimony, Council staff will be taking questions beforehand and providing those questions to members of Council to ask.
Members of the public that are interested in testifying before Council will have that opportunity on Thursday, Feb. 24.
From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Portland City Council will be holding a hearing to decide on the path forward for the city’s participation in the JTTF. The hearing will be broadcast on Portland Community Media (channel 30 on Comcast) and live-streamed online at www.portlandonline.com.
Individuals who wish to participate via social media can do so via Twitter by using the #JTTF or #JTTFReview hashtags, and can follow that online discussion at www.mayorsamadams.com/JTTFReview.
Those unable to attend the hearing can email their testimony beforehand to the Council Clerk (Karla.Moore-Love@portlandoregon.gov), fax to 503-823-4571, or mail or hand-deliver testimony (Council Clerk, City of Portland, 1221 SW 4th Ave Rm 140, Portland, OR 97204).