Suffice to say, there is finally a real mayor in city hall. Tom Potter took the time, both before and after the hearing, to talk to many of the people who came tonight, and to let them know they have been heard. At several points in the evening, he reminded people that he is the police commissioner, and he takes that responsibility seriously. Unlike the previous mayor, it seems, he does not intend to sit idly by while a rogue police force tramples the civil rights of the people of Portland. In a short speech he gave as the vote was being tallied, Mr. Potter referenced the corporate media's fearmongering attempts to force him to continue to blindly cooperate with the JTTF. He said that a media person had told him that, "If anything happens in the city, I'm toast." Not that this thought hasn't crossed my mind, or the minds of those who would like nothing more than to sabotage the effort to rid ourselves of the JTTF. But Potter calmly reassured those present that "the way we protect ourselves, is to take care of each other."
Indeed. Take care of each other. Mutual aid. Solidarity. How refreshing to hear someone in public office make reference to the fact that we need not powerlessly wait for the government to save us from ourselves. Potter seemed very cognizant of the blistering he will likely take in the corporate media tomorrow. ("I can just see tomorrow's editorial," he said at one point.) But he stood his ground anyway.
Saltzman took quite a ribbing from many people who offered testinomy. It wasn't the fact that he was voting in opposition to the proposal they objected to, it was his shallow and transparent op ed piece in the Oregonian this morning. Almost everyone seems to have been as disgusted and I was by Saltzman's waving of the 9/11 banner and his callous use of the victims of that event to buttress his own political position. One man, a native New Yorker, took exception to Saltzman's attempt to speak for the people of New York in that article, when he ruminated over the hole in the ground where the WTC stood, and then stated, "It's difficult to imagine looking a New Yorker in the eye and explaining our rationale for withdrawing from the terror task force. It would feel disrespectful to even attempt to do so." The man admonished the commissioner for his impertinence. Saltzman later explained that he did not mean to speak for all New Yorkers, and then went on to remind us all what a horrible tragedy 9/11 was. Wow. Thanks for the reminder. apparently that had something to do with our need to remain affiliated with the PJTTF. Interestingly, he seems to have forgotten the fact that New York had its very own JTTF squad, at the time of the attack on the WTC, and that this did not prevent the attack. So much for that theory.
In any event, commissioners Leonard, Adams, and Sten (yes, Sten) voted with Mayor Potter, and the city is now set to pull out of the JTTF agreement, even if some lingering doubts still haunt the fine print.