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.