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An Open Letter to the City Council and the DOJ

The proposed agreement between the City Council and the Department of Justice to provide Portland with a police force which citizens can supposedly trust will no longer violate our civil rights. That agreement proposes hiring more police staff at tax payer expense - as if the fox can now be trusted to guard the hen house while the blood of chickens is still drying on his chin.
To whom it may concern at the DOJ; to Mayor Sam Adams, and City Council members:

I attended Saturday's anti-austerity demonstration on November 3rd. . I was SO disgusted by the PPD's irresponsible reaction to the peaceful protest - pepper spraying some of us without prior warning or any apparent reason. The only violence was on the part of the police so it became obvious to anyone with eyes that the excessive police presence was a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars! There were far more police lining the sidewalks than were justified by peaceful protesters - there seemed to be almost as many cops as there were protesters. I was appalled by the insane waste of police man hours and of our tax money! I have no idea whose brilliant idea it was to send such an excessive police presence to the event; would that have been our City Council or the PPD itself?

I have reason to think that the police are often taken at their word as to whether their presence is necessary and in what numbers. Doesn't it ever occur to anyone that the police cannot be expected to have an unbiased opinion - it is in their self interest to inflate the possibility of conflict and therefor exaggerate their own importance? OTOH, Portland is not known for its riots. - All the Occupy events and peace demonstrations I have attended were of the kind where protesters stopped at traffic lights or would stop to help an elderly person across the street. The violence I've witnessed on more than one occasion has been police violence - the theft of personal belongings I have witnessed was done by uniformed police officers. If I were to sit on the jury, a number of Portland's police would go to prison for assault.

It seems self evident to me that funding Portland's Police Department with more staff is going to solve NOTHING. To think that more officers would solve the problem is a pretty silly PR (public relations) tactic IMO; the DOJ and the City Council must think we Portland citizens are stupid to accept new staff at taxpayer expense is any "solution". We are not fooled and we are incensed.

I would like to see the police department's budget reduced by 1/2 to 2/3 and the money saved to put into the school budget. I am not naive, I realize that the Downtown Business Alliance owns our city council and that too, disgusts me. The DBA wants Portland to be a quiet refuge for tourists and their money. - I fully intend to organize a boycott of all DBA businesses; I hope someone informs them of the same. If they keep pushing our City Council for the unconstitutional suppression of our civil rights, then it's time those businesses were picketed.

I will not accept any other solution than a community review board which fully reflects Portland's economic, religious, and racial composition in all its diversity. I fully concur with JoAnn Hardesty that the Settlement Agreement should be changed to include the following conditions if Portland citizens are expected to take this agreement seriously:

The community must have oversight authority

Replace 'advisory' in the title. Add 'compliance or oversight'

The public must have the authority to ensure appropriate reforms are happening on the timeline laid out by the DOJ

Violence Again 05.Nov.2012 19:06

Lone Vet lonevet2008@comcast.net

Mayor Sam Adams, and City Council members:

Monday, ‎November ‎05, ‎2012

I was in attendance for the Saturday's Anti-Austerity demonstration that started at Holiday Park and then went on a march through the east-side of Portland. I was not part of the march due to illness and being on oxygen. I joined the gathering because I want you and all political figures to understand we are at the breaking point and can not handle any more cuts in services. The incident that I watched from video showed that someone decided to have hundreds of cops in the area and they were once again ready to control the event. This is unacceptable but not why I am writing you once again about your police department and their violent reaction to protests.

I am writing to tell you that I will try to join with others to get the community together to start to control this gang of rogue police officers. They used pepper spray on students who were trying to say that their schools have had enough of budgets cuts. Many were in this march as a way to show they are concerned and worried about our schools. They were sprayed with chemical pepper spray for no other reason than being in the wrong place and probably thought that the police would not spray them for exercising their right to protest. That is the danger of just spraying anyone near you, the innocents are caught in the violent actions. This to me is heart breaking and there will be reactions from many quarters. My reaction will be to work on an initiative to make it a requirement that we have a fully independent police review board. I no longer trust this body to do anything to resolve this problem. This violent action may be the one that will cause change. I am aware of JoAnn Hardesty's suggestions and recommendations and fully support them. I am also aware that many of my friends are angry over this action by the Portland Police.

For Justice,Peace and *Laughter,
Joe Walsh-Lone Vet
Individuals for Justice  http://individualsforjustice.com
Proud member of Oregon Progressive Party,  http://progparty.org/

War is failure, occupation a disgrace!

"Funding these wars is killing our troops"

* Why laughter?? Because without it I would have gone insane years ago.

Sen. ** harry reid must be replaced as Majority Leader, call me when you agree or just go away!

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.
Mohandas Gandhi

Thoreau may have also brooded over the reaction of Emerson, who criticized the imprisonment as pointless. According to some accounts, Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, "Henry, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau replied, "Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?"

Molly Ivins, "It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong."

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth,
and I am a citizen of the world."
Eugene V. Debs

"So keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds..." -- Molly Ivins

Nov. 8th - please come to City Council meeting 05.Nov.2012 22:19

Kathleen Bushman

AN INVITATION: TO all those who are concerned about the issue of police accountability. Please come to address the City Council or come to support those who will address the Council - let's let the City Council know that Portland residents care about this issue.

3:30pm until 5:30pm


UPDATE: Written testimony due Tuesday; public presence needed at City Hall on Thursday.

Suppression of activists & racism as policy? 06.Nov.2012 13:20

Kathleen Bushman sassykathy46@yahoo.com

Portland residents who are concerned about the racism of the PPD should read about the experience of New Yorkers protesting NYC's notorious Stop and Frisk policy. If any of us held out hope that the DOJ will ever address the issue of racial profiling the experience of NY activists is a hope killer.  link to october2011.org
NY's Occupy has been active in exposing NY's notorious Stop and Frisk policy...! So how has the DOJ responded? - how has New York City's court system responded? -Has the City of New York responded by investigating and prosecuting officers for abuse of civil rights? NY's criminal justice system is busy arresting and vigorously prosecuting protesters!!!! WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?! - The police apparently have the blessing of the city's courts as well as the DOJ to continue abusing the civil rights of racial minorities. Racism then, I conclude, must be a national policy - how could it be otherwise?!

It boggles my mind that Protesters who would expose the racism must be hauled into court and their prosecution prioritized! Racism, then I conclude, must be a national policy - how could it be otherwise?! I'm wondering what purpose a racist policy serves - other than feeding the hungry maw of the prison-industrial complex? (Many Americans may remain unaware that prison labor is currently and increasingly used to produce the for profit goods of some of this country's biggest corporations.  http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/2012/10/slavery-on-new-plantation-by-killu.html) Since the number of U.S. citizens behind bars has tripled in the 30 years since it became legal to transport for profit prison made goods across state lines, a racist criminal justice system could be designed to add to the corporate profit margin. Racism to provide slave labor for big corporations such a policy could well result in violent opposition if the majority white population were incarcerated at the same rate so racism could be designed to minimize opposition. I'm wondering though if racism doesn't serve another purpose? Is racism as policy designed to keep us from working together to oppose a system which is increasingly oppressive of all citizens?