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Willamette Week Article on Local Anti-PATRIOT Act Efforts

A link, and a response.

The following is reprinted from the Media Coverage section of the PDX BoRDC website.

There's a brief item in today's edition of Willamette Week, partially the result of a 20-minute conversation with the writer of the piece last week. As usual, here are some comments from us. And this time around, there are some fairly important responses to make.

Durston also noted that the resolution is fairly broad and that debate on an anti-war measure--which a coalition of groups is supporting--might take precedence if military action is taken against Iraq. Such resolutions have passed in 23 U.S. cities, including Seattle, San Francisco and Detroit.

The resolution is not fairly broad -- unless you want to consider that support for maintaining civil liberties is broader than support for stopping the war, but that's probably not what was meant.

Our proposed resolution in support of civil liberties is not broad at all. As we have been stating repeatedly, it focuses mainly on only two things: Reaffirming the City of Portland's commitment to our rights as protected by both the Federal constitution and Oregon law (the latter, of course, we've already called upon to resist the FBI questioning of Arab- and Muslim-Americans); and calling for the appropriate notifications, transparencies, accountabilities, and oversight authorities to be properly exercised.

How, exactly, is that a "broad" resolution? One part reiterates existing law, the other requests accountabiity. That's essentially it. Those are the central focuses of this resolution. That the resolution is two pages long does not make it broad, merely specific.

Frankonis isn't sure why Portland has been comparatively slow to join the campaign, though he suspects the rabble-rousing crowd interrupting Joint Terrorism Task Force hearings probably hasn't helped sell the cause. He fears the fight to contain the Patriot Act may simply devolve into a war of attrition. "The longer this drags on," he says wearily, "the harder it will be to keep at it."

To be fair to ourselves here, this idea that the antics of the JTTF hearings might play into this is something that came up in conversation with Bob Durston. It's not something we pulled out of thin air or conceived of all on our own -- people inside the City Council offices themselves are taking the JTTF experience into consideration. They don't want to have to sit through a repeat of that hearing. So the above is not merely some sort of Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee suspicion. It's something that was actively discussed in meetings with Durston, and is apparently on the minds of the people who would have to sit there and vote on any other politically-charged matter.

In addition, we've begun to express the possibility that the size of Portland's population as compared to cities with resolutions may also be a factor in the comparative pace of efforts here. If our city were to adopt a resolution, we would be the second-largest city to do -- just shy of the population of Denver, which was one of the first cities to become part of the movement. But they were also very sensitized to related issues, due to a local controversy over secret police spy files on activists.

homepage: homepage: http://portland-or.bordc.org/
address: address: 4117 SE Division Street, PMB #428

Rabble-rousing crowd 11.Dec.2002 14:29

rabble

"Frankonis isn't sure why Portland has been comparatively slow to join the campaign, though he suspects the rabble-rousing crowd interrupting Joint Terrorism Task Force hearings probably hasn't helped sell the cause."

Cute. Moronic, but cute.

do you read? 11.Dec.2002 16:01

Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee info@portland-or.bordc.org

You'll notice that we specifically address that part of the WW article in order to make it clear that this discomfort based upon the JTTF hearing is a concern INSIDE City Council. It's not something the PDX BoRDC suddenly offerred up to the City Council as an excuse. They themselves are just not very mjotivated to sit through a meeting like that again. In and of itself, this is certainly not a valid reason for not pursuing a PATRIOT Act resolution, of course. But it's at least useful to know what they are thinking.

The entire point of addressing that part of the article was to explain that the JTTF issue was not somehow a brainchild of one of our members, but something that came up when meeting with Bob Durston, Erik Sten's chief an staff.

In the end, the point is this: Whether or not the JTTF hearing experience SHOULD impact the City Council's decision regarding the taking up of a PATRIOT Act resolution, it clearly IS a concern of theirs. To bring that possibility into the open is not the same as excusing it.


I read just fine, thanks. 11.Dec.2002 17:18

rabble

I wonder which Bill of Rights you are defending with your committee? The one that guarantees politicians will never have to be "uncomfortable" inside City Hall? The one that says that the rabble shall sit quietly and respectfully while the useless politicians pass laws and ordinances that take away from that other Bill of Rights?

You should be speaking out loudly condemning such a point of view. You should be speaking out loudly supporting the citizens of this city who take time out of their busy lives to bear witness to the City Council's sham hearings on the JTTF.

Hurray for the riffraff!

Rabble reads just fine, but... 11.Dec.2002 23:44

rouser

... he doesn't infer very well. Rabble should read the posting he just replied to. The first paragraph--the one where it says that the Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee doesn't say it's right of the City Council to consider our rowdiness, but that it's reality.

So, I was at the JTTF hearings, and I seem to recall something about Francesconi saying that the comments from the audience prove that we have terrorist concerns right here in Portland. No, that's not good logic, but it would seem to be HIS logic. With that in mind, Rabble, if you show up to a meeting about an anti-PATRIOT Act resolution, please don't give the council some excuse (albeit twisted) to oppose adopting the resolution.