According to the office of the city auditor, the hearing is being held up by the FBI. Apparently, the FBI has not signed the contract, and it cannot go before the council until it receives their signature. It has been tentatively proposed for either November 24th (that's right, the day before Thanksgiving), or else December 29th (yes, that would be the week between Christmas and New Year when many people are on vacation). Obviously, the FBI does not want citizen involvement with this very important issue.
For those who do not know, the Portland Joint terrorism Task Force (PJTTF) hearing is an extremely important battle in the struggle for civil liberties and constitutional protections in Portland. The PJTTF is the agreement between Portland business interests, the corporate police state, and the FBI, allowing the collaboration between Portland police and the FBI. In short, they are spying on us. While their mission has been to prevent the specter of terrorism, the reality is that the only people who have been targeted (and there have been many!) have been political and environmental activists and people of color.
It's a scary -- no, make that terrifying -- thing to have the police state breathing so blatantly down the necks of people who are only exercising their constitutional right, not to mention moral obligation, to speak out against injustice. For the past few years, the struggle against this oppression has been a study in futility, as the outcome of previous PJTTF hearings has been a foregone conclusion. The hearings have been a ridiculous farce, cementing in my mind the image of our corrupt and blitheringly incompetent city officials selling us out to the police state. Nevertheless, we put up a decent fight. Many, many people testified against the PJTTF, and creative protests broke out in the gallery.
This time, however, things just might be different. Both Leonard and Sten have expressed misgivings (at LONG last) about allowing the PJTTF to continue. (Perhaps the well-publicized fiasco surrounding the wrongful imprisonment of Brandon Mayfield over a fake print and a child's school report had something to do with that?) We can expect Francesconi to bow to the corporate masters as always, but perhaps not everyone will buckle to the dark side. Maybe, just maybe, even Vera will find a conscience this time and refuse to sell out the people of this city. After all, she was once a political dissident who earned her place in a police spy file of her own. Maybe, just maybe, she can reach way down in her soul and find her way back. I know, that may be too much to hope for, but I'm running with it.
In any event, it's clear that the FBI does not want us to be there to speak out against the JTTF. That's reason enough in my book to be there with bells on. See you all there...whenever they finally try to sneak it through the back door.