Last Friday, when we covered Mayor Sam Adams' decision to delay once again a hearing on Portland rejoining the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, Commissioner Randy Leonard told us he could not support City Hall's latest proposal.
But last week, Leonard declined to go public with the reasons why he says he made that decision. He cited the ongoing negotiations between City Hall and the FBI.
In today's print edition, Leonard reversed course and agreed to go on the record about the shortcomings he saw in a draft resolution on rejoining JTTF that circulated through City Hall last week. (The city attorney's office refused to release the draft under a public-records request, calling it "attorney work product.")
In explaining why he went public with the details of the agreement that he objected to, Leonard pointed to comments last week from Commissioner Dan Saltzman published in a story on JTTF in The Oregonian.
The daily newspaper quotes Saltzman as saying the debate in City Hall "is aimed at a 'face-saving outcome' and that public safety is 'only a cursory consideration at this point.'"
Leonard—as City Hall's most vocal skeptic on JTTF—took issue with those remarks by Saltzman, who is the most gung-ho City Council member on rejoining the task force. Leonard said Saltzman's criticism led him to go public about his concerns with the draft resolution.
"Commissioner Saltzman seems in search of a problem that does not exist," Leonard wrote in an email to WW. "In my review of the Christmas-tree lighting incident, I was impressed with the work the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI did together to apprehend a would-be terrorist without us formally belonging to the JTTF. I have never quite understood how that successful joint operation between the PPB and the FBI led Commissioner Saltzman to conclude we need to belong to the JTTF. However, I will refrain from describing his motives as face saving."
Saltzman's chief of staff, Brendan Finn, said his boss will not comment on Leonard's remarks.