Now is the time for a bold, aggressive new agenda for protecting civil liberties in Portland from an irresponsible and reckless federal regime. There are new faces on our city council, offering the chance to start fresh. And people in our city, the vast majority of whom do not agree with the outcome of these elections -- and in many cases distrust even the election procedures themselves -- need a strong program for their energies to coalesce around.
I think it's time to revisit and re-energize the fight on a bunch of issues, such as:
Why do we continue to allow the Portland Police Bureau to cooperate with the FBI in ongoing fishing expeditions against citizens of our city? The results so far don't suggest that the FBI is really conducting an effective fight against "terrorism." The quality of the cases they've developed and brought doesn't reveal them to be on the trail of the elusive, insidious, and imminent threats of dark conspiracy against our fair city that the government and media have hyped. Rather, they look more and more like politically motivated grasping and overreaching in search of a justification for their own budgets and increasing power. Disband JTTF and replace it with a case-by-case approach. When FBI has a case that's strong enough to withstand the scrutiny of outside oversight and considers it necessary to call on local law enforcement to assist it, let it present the case for review and a City Commissioner can sign off to activate the JTTF. Otherwise, what we have is a permanently institutionalized Red Squad which will do little or nothing to stop the dubious and elusive threat of "terrorism," but a lot to squelch our civil liberties and harrass our citizens.
Pass an Arcata style resolution against the "patriotic" act finally!
Pass an ordinance withdrawing police protection from visiting high-profile federal officials, on the grounds that the City of Portland cannot afford to expose itself to the legal liability of cooperating with the Secret Service's illegal, abusive tactics against citizens exercising their free expression rights at public events. Any such protection or cooperation with Secret Service must, once again, be requested and reviewed by City Commissioners on a case-by-case basis, taking care to negotiate event-specific protocols in advance to protect civil liberties. In the event that the request is approved, the City should estimate the cost of such services and hand the feds the bill in advance. If the feds don't like this, let them provide their own policing and foot the bill themselves. No more PPB cops pepperspraying babes in arms!
Pass a resolution reminding all city officials that, in the event of any conflict between any federal law, regulation, or edict, and local and state laws, local officials are to be guided by local laws first. Also, the City should advise all public officials that any federal orders, decrees, or regulations violating the US Constitution are illegal, null and void, and may not be enforced in our city.
Create a "Citizens Review Board" for federal actions that violate civil liberties. Local citizens could bring reports of cases where they feel their rights have been violated by federal officials. The review board would be empowered to review the cases and, where appropriate, recommend that the City file amicus briefs or otherwise intervene on their behalf.
Just a few ideas. What do you think?