October 18, 2016 – “New Portland Police Contract Causes Such Public Outrage That 70 Police in Full Riot Gear Are Called”

Paul Cienfuegos’ October 18th, 2016 Commentary on KBOO Evening News

(His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org/podcast, or subscribe via ITunes.)

Greetings! You are listening to the Community Rights Report by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos, bringing you stories of We the People reclaiming our power to govern ourselves and ending the absurdity of corporations exercising constitutional “rights”.

Last Wednesday, October 12th, I was waiting for a Max train at PSU, downtown. The crowds at the platform kept growing and growing, but there were no trains stopping. Finally, a TriMet employee told us that there was a demonstration down at City Hall that was entirely blocking 5th Avenue trains and buses, and we needed to walk past it to get a Max train out of downtown. I’m the sort of guy who always walks towards demonstrations, not away from them. So minutes later, I was in the street witnessing a very angry group of local residents who had just been thrown out of City Hall, after the City Council had voted behind locked doors (which is illegal, by the way) to approve the new city contract with the Portland Police.

Unlike the two previous police contracts, this one was negotiated entirely in secret. And the existing contract doesn’t even expire till 2018, so what’s the rush? Perhaps we’ll never know exactly why, but our outgoing mayor, Charlie Hales, decided to violate his oath of office and rush through an awful contract, with absolutely no public process whatsoever. Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler really should have been the one to maneuver this new negotiation through a fully public process, especially when our police department is being actively monitored by the federal Justice Department for all sorts of wrongful deaths by police. So no wonder the public was outraged.

And true to form, the mayor couldn’t handle the justifiable anger from local residents, so first he had the police force the large crowd out of City Hall, and then 70 police, all in full riot gear, forced the crowd off of 5th Avenue, and stood there in a block-long line-up for another few hours to keep the crowd from re-entering the street. When our mayor and city council show so much contempt for the views of our local citizens that they have to call up 70 police in full riot gear simply to respond to public outrage, you know there’s something rotten going on in local government.

And we’ve got a local city council election coming up in just a few weeks, so I hope listeners have been paying attention, even if the powers-that-be would prefer you not notice this race. This coming Friday, October 21st, there will be a major public city council debate between incumbent Steve Novick and his challenger, Chloe Eudaly, who has a decent chance of beating him in November. Chloe is the long-time owner of the independent bookstore, Reading Frenzy. She’s a single mom, and she’s very concerned about the housing crisis in our city. I hope you can attend the debate. That’s this Friday, October 21, at 7pm, at Revolution Hall. And please bring a friend.

I have been thoroughly enjoying offering you, KBOO listeners and podcast subscribers, my unique Community Rights perspective, week in and week out for the past two years and two months. I will be taking a few months off after today’s commentary, as I am heading to the State of Oaxaca in southern Mexico for all of November and December, in order to immerse myself in the Spanish language. It has been a lifelong goal of mine to become Spanish fluent, and this adventure will at least get me solidly started on that path. Over the next few months, you are likely to hear an occasional report on the KBOO Evening News from yours truly, interviewing significant people who I meet on my travels in southern Mexico. I will return to this spot on the Tuesday Evening News sometime in January. Thank you listeners for all of the feedback you have given me, and thank you KBOO for the privilege of sharing my thoughts with your amazing and engaged audience.

And one last thing before I go…

Every week, you get to hear some beautiful marimba music that opens and closes my commentaries. The author of this music is my dear friend Treothe Bullock, who lives here in Portland. Thank you Treothe for allowing me to use your music every week. And for those who want to hear more of Treothe’s music, or to discover his amazing writings and photographs, go to Treeoathe.wordpress.com/.

You’ve been listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos. You can hear future commentaries every Tuesday on the KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon, and on a growing number of other radio stations. I welcome your feedback.

You can subscribe to my weekly podcast via I-Tunes or at CommunityRightsPDX.org. You can sign up for my ‘Community Rights Updates’ at PaulCienfuegos.com. You can follow me on twitter at CienfuegosPaul. THANKS FOR LISTENING! And remember: WE are the people we’ve been WAITING for.

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