My hypothesis right now: Hales is trying to leave Ted Wheeler a burning slagheap of a city. Charlie knows his legacy is, to borrow another political phrase, worth a bucket of warm spit. So why not make life as hard as
possible for the guy who ran him out of office just by showing up and say “Hi” to Portland last September?
After learning what happened with the police contract vote and the subsequent “sweep” of protesters from City Hall, my thoughts went here (as I posted on Facebook):
it's a waste of time in real terms, but gathering recall signatures against Hales would still send a message.
I then took a look at what was needed to do a recall. I also contacted a few folks about it. I didn’t need much to be talked out of it. With less than two-and-a-half months remaining in his term, the best thing to do in regards to this Mayor is run the clock out. Can he make things worse? Probably. He’ll probably do so regarding those facing a winter outdoors.
One way or another, he’ll make it worse.
So I’m not angry at Hales over this; I’m just resigned to whatever ridiculous shit he tries to do. I am instead pissed off at Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz. Fritz bills herself as the “People’s Commissioner” because she won her seat initially using public funds. Yet they not only went along with the police contract despite widespread public opposition – especially in various minority communities – and since there was no deadline until next fricking summer.
And they went along with moving the meeting from public view. And, I assume, tacit approval of letting the cops do their muscular work. They damn sure didn’t show up to help keep things tamped down.
Steve Novick went along with the meeting change (I assume) but at least he voted the right way on this. I believe he did so on the contract’s merits; others will sneer “opportunist” but whatevs. He voted against the damn thing. Bottom line.
And bottom line: Charlie Hales has ensured that Portland wears a massive stain. No, the cops didn’t kill anyone (this time). But the cops did get the right to watch their own body cam video before writing reports – not for fatal encounters, but this covers 99% of police incidents. And the process of developing those provisions was hidden from the public.
I have no idea why the rush to pass this contract, especially with so much opposition from the public. Do Hales, Fish and Fritz think the anger will dissipate over the holidays? That Portland would suddenly be so short of cops that lawlessness would overwhelm us like a Mad Max movie?
Nah. I’m going with “Hales wants to leave as much grief for Wheeler as possible”. I see no reason to disabuse myself of that notion.
But I have no idea what Fish and Fritz were thinking. I just know: they’ve broken faith with many in Portland. The ramifications will be huge and long-lasting.