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Murmurs

Where interests always conflict.

* While KATU reporter Anna Song won praise locally for her in-depth coverage of the murders in Oregon City, she got slapped by Los Angeles Times media critic Howard Rosenberg for giving a five-minute eulogy at a Aug. 29 public memorial service for Miranda Gaddis and Ashley Pond. Rosenberg, in a Sept. 6 column, said Song's role "transformed her into an activist, and would fit nicely into the 'Conflicts of Interest' chapter of any book on journalism ethics."

* The reality TV folks are at it again. This weekend, a mob of about 100 crowded the Mark Spencer Hotel hoping to become the chosen ones in an open audition for a new British import called Faking It. The show takes everyday working stiffs and trains them in a new profession for three weeks. Sunday's casting call looked for "natural" women with no dance experience to be remade into a Dallas Desperados arena football dancer, for beer drinkers with no knowledge of wine and for city boys with little horseback-riding experience. One hopeful was overheard saying to one of the agents, "I can be whatever you want me to be."

* Multnomah County Auditor Suzanne Flynn released a blistering review of the county's capital construction projects last week. Flynn reviewed the county's purchase of its headquarters, the siting of the new Wapato Jail and two other projects. Flynn says the county spent $29 million more than was necessary, and she gave failing grades for lack of a "formal project plan" and "assessment of potential risks."

* Does Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker have it wired to become top cop in Los Angeles? Sources say Kroeker knew days in advance that he had made the latest cut of candidates for that city's chief's job. Not only that, but L.A. Mayor Jimmy Hahn has directed Dean Hansell, managing partner of a high-powered L.A. law firm, to conduct a special inquiry into Kroeker's performance in Portland--which sounds like an effort to be absolutely sure Kroeker, a 32-year LAPD veteran, won't do anything stupid if picked.

* Someone forgot to tell Portland's favorite cannabis couple that dope smokers are supposed to be unmotivated. Not content to stage Jeff and Tracy's Old Time Marijuana Revival Hour (twice monthly at the Old Church), Jeff Jarvis and Tracy Johnson and now promoting the "First-ever Jeff and Tracy's Neighborhood Pot Luck Dinner" Sunday. The six-hour food and funfest kicks off at 3 pm at the Powell Park pavilion (Southeast 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard). Just to make sure not everyone brings brownies, pot-luckers are asked to call Murlane Webb (668-8334) for "food assignments."

* Oct. 14. Save the date. Ted "the Terminator" Kulongoski has agreed to defend his title at Round 2 of Jabbin' at the Aladdin, X-PAC's gubernatorial debate. Also climbing into the ring will be "Killer" Kevin Mannix and Tom "Tax-Buster" Cox.

* It got hardly any attention last week, but the Rand Corporation, a moderate- to conservative-leaning think tank, released a research report saying that removing four dams on the Snake River in Washington state will help revive endangered salmon without hurting the region's economy.

* You can tell the Sept. 17 City Council race is nearing the finish line by the increasingly tenuous messages candidates are putting forward. This week's entrance into the not-council-business-but-popular-with-voters is a Serena Cruz production that features a picture of happy seniors and the message, "We can count on Serena to help ensure that all of us have access to affordable health care." Coming next week: Council candidates push for Saddam's ouster.