From Portland Copwatch:
April 10, 2012
***UPDATE: 9:55 AM - Mayor Adams has pulled this item from the agenda and will be re-submitting it later***
Friends of Portland Copwatch (and Occupy Portland):
On Wednesday, the City Council is slated to renew a contract with the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) for five years which allows PBA to pay the salaries of several Portland Police officers (I think it's currently three) who, essentially, are at the beck and call of the PBA's Clean and Safe program.
When this contract was renewed in 2007 (and probably in previous years), we asked Council a simple question: If Portland Copwatch had enough money, could we hire our own police officers too?
It's bad enough that the PBA exerts pressure on the City to enact bad policies (like Sit/Lie and the anti-camping ordinance) and crack down on certain types of people downtown (homeless/poor people and protestors), but to give them the ability to pay for their own cops... Well, I don't need to tell most of you that if the businesses who pool their money together into the PBA just paid more taxes in the first place, there'd be enough money in the City coffers to pay for those three cops and then they would respond to crime in the priorities set by everyone in the community, not just the privileged few (1% anyone?). Theoretically of course... I mean, really, it almost doesn't make a difference if PBA pays their salaries directly, but I hope you see the point... that this is part of the privatization of our public commons that has to stop.
The item is on the "Consent Agenda" because Chief Reese states the contract was first signed in 1997, before public involvement was required for Council agenda items, therefore he feels there does not need to be public discussion. We will be asking for it to be pulled from the Consent Agenda. This means it will be heard at the end of the other agenda items, likely no earlier than 10:45 AM and possibly as late as 12:30 PM.
It's also being put on the agenda as an "emergency" item, meaning it reuqires at least four votes and the vote has to be unanimous... even though the contract doesn't expire until June 30, nearly 3 months from now.
Here's the short description from the Council Agenda:
*360 Authorize a contract with the Portland Business Alliance to
provide policing services for the Clean and Safe Program (Ordinance)
and here's a link to the .pdf so you can read the whole contract:
I hope some folks will contact Council ahead of the meeting with concerns, and maybe some will come to testify on Wednesday as well.