The Barbarians Are At The Gates:
Went to three meetings in two days and that is a lot for me but they were important or enjoyable. The first meeting was at the den of sulfur, AKA PDX city hall. We monitor the council, testifying often on subjects we think are important and putting on the record our objections to their votes and how they spend our money. This meeting on the 25th was different because there were other issues that came up. We had a funeral for a baby who died because the mother was poor and was not in good shape mentally. The baby died and the mother showed her to a stranger who called 911. The County medical examiner proclaimed the baby was stillborn, we held a funeral to say to the city leaders, you killed this child because her mother was on the streets and it was freezing outside. The mentally ill people sometimes do not have the ability to go around looking and getting through all the confusing crap they must go through to get any help. The help is in the future, sometimes the wait is years. We are not doing our jobs helping the most vulnerable among us; we are marking time! I yelled at the mayor that he was going to hell, but did not get arrested which was good because I was not feeling very well. I want to work on my 2017 resolution, which is patience.
There was another issue that I wanted to testity about in the afternoon but about 4:00 PM I got dangerously low on oxygen and had to leave. I did run out before I got home and that was bad. The agenda item that was up for discussion was more independence for the auditor. I would have taken the following position: Does this item that the auditor wants to put on the ballot to add things to the Charter make her office independent or do we need more work? The testimony seemed to go the way of a yes vote and I thought it was winning 3-2. They did not vote on it yet which means you can write something and send it to the council clerk and it will be made part of the record. I think the city council is still a place of hostility and has not changed much. The County is much more welcoming for visitors and activists. I like going to the county and hate going to city hall.
The county meeting was good and they were trying to get something done. Lightning testified about the superfund clean up and where is the money? He was straight with the commissioners and said they have to stand up and get that river cleaned up and tell all no more polluting of the river, he made me smile. My testimony had a lot to do with us figuring out a way to come together when the sh-t hits the fan with the trump attack on just about everything we hold dear, yes my friends, the Barbarians are at the gates and we better be ready for one hell of a fight. The commissioners seem like they are with us, we shall see. I worry about our politicians standing tall and not buckling when the pressure is great and it will be mighty. I left a little early because I needed to rest a bit because there was another meeting from 5:30-8:30 PM that I wanted to attend, that being the COAB meeting at the hearing office near PSU.
The COAB is being threatened with extinction by the city, last night may have been the last meeting. There were about 50-60 people there, most representing groups or government. We had the mayor for an hour and he gave a presentation and took questions, I got to ask the first question and begged him not to close down the COAB. I feel the committee did their job and made recommendations to the Dept. of Justice but the DOJ sat on the recommendations. The mayor seemed to open it up about how to continue the COAB or replace it with something that would allow the citizens of Portland to have input into the decisions about police accountability. I was friendly with all and got to ask DOJ some questions about their feeling of what should happen next and asked this question: Can the mayor just ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to send the appeal of the city to mediation and have the parties work out some stuff including the COAB and how they could design it? The answer was yes, so here is a simple proposal that allows all to save face. In my opinion the city will lose their appeal and may for years damage their credibility with the federal courts. If the mayor asks that the court send the issue to mediation it gives us a decision that would come quickly and save the city from looking bad. The more you appeal cases to the 9th Circuit the more you run the risk of looking like a whiner, once that happens you as a city are screwed. One must remember that judges are people, human beings and they will act as any normal person. So that is one way out for the mayor. I stressed to the mayor that he must do something that shows he is not our enemy, build some kind of trust with us. I got the shaking of the head thing, so we shall see. I want to see reconciliation between the politicians and the activists, but in order to do that one must admit they screwed up and that is a hard thing for both sides to do. The alternative is not good however, dealing with the Barbarians alone is political suicide.
COAB meeting 1/26/2017