Chief petitioner Marvin Moore of the Recall Vera Katz Committee, which has begun gathering signatures on a recall petition against Mayor Vera Katz, had strategized that in order to establish the focus of the campaign on police violence and the need for structural change in the police department, it would be necessary for his group to file before the competing Better Portland Alliance could do so. The BPA has been claiming that Katz is not pro-business enough and that the police are not aggressive enough.
The Recall Vera Katz Committee filed its recall petition on Tuesday, May 27. Although outmaneuvered, the BPA's initial response was calm when the next morning it send out a press release announcing that it would postpone its effort and instead contact the RVKC to obtain petitions because "the desire to recall Mayor Vera Katz spans the entire political spectrum in Portland." On Friday, BPA chair Jack Peek telephoned Moore. "We could agree that subsidizing a baseball stadium is a misuse of tax dollars," said Moore, "but we disagree on his claim that the shooting of Kendra James was neither racism nor police violence. Furthermore, Moore said that Peek blamed Katz for protesters. "Just because a few commuters were delayed by peace marchers when Bush illegally invaded Iraq is a really petty reason to recall the mayor," he said.
BPA director John Belgarde next suggested that Moore's group was "trying to confuse the issue." And then, says Moore, there came a series of increasingly bizarre and hostile Web postings and e-mails from Peek. "Your class warefare stance isnt (sic) very smart ... a very tiny group of anarcist (sic) that just want to start a war. Lets (sic) play recall together and then see after her rear is going south if we have any grounds to work for any more issues that can benifit (sic) all ... you have until noon on Tuesday to make up your mind. After that ... well, you FIGURE IT OUT. JACK PEEK" said one. "We had no idea Moore was filing ... HE KEPT IT SECRET!!!" complained another. "You aren't going to pull this off without us. Your 'wacko' stance makes my wacko stance,(you thnk I'm wacko)look sane ... you hurt people, you damaged property, your desire later this summer is to start a race war.... I SAW THAT at the rally for the girls (sic) shooting. You and I WANT Katz out, last chance to do it together, mark my words, last chance. Jack Peek" threatened a third.
The Recall Vera Katz Committee is using its campaign to call attention to escalating police violence in Portland, the mayor's failure to stop it, and the need for structural change in the police department.
Moore said he'd already decided that if the BPA wanted to circulate his group's petition, "a signature is a signature," but that he wouldn't officially collaborate with the BPA for rear that they would co-opt his campaign. "Their tacky and illiterate flyers were the first danger signal," he said. "And now these angry and, yes, wacko communications make it clear ;that there's no way whatsoever to work with them."
For more information, see the Web site at www.recallvera.ORG