From Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch comes this:
The below letter was sent from former Oregon State Senator Avel Gordly to City Council late yesterday afternoon, adding to the chorus of voices who testified last week against Portland re-joining the Joint Terrorism Task Force on a full time basis. Sen. Gordly was the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate (1997-2009), and was recently appointed by Commissioner Nick Fish to the community board overseeing the DOJ Settlement Agreement.
I also received a letter that was sent by esteemed Portland-area anti-war activist Brian Willson, author of Blood on the Tracks, which called to mind spying on anti-nuclear and other activists that led to his serious injuries protesting a munitions train.
As noted previously, our work is not done: The Council is set to vote on two resolutions next Thursday, Feb. 19 at 2:15 PM. The resolutions do not require a unanimous vote, so it’s possible (and likely) that the vote will be 3-2– but will there be three votes to stay out of the JTTF or three votes to stay in? The Portland Mercury has some speculation in their article (titled “Let’s Keep Out of the JTTF”)
Senator Gordley, whom I met during my days of fasting and getting arrested (in fact in the public area of the Mayor’s Office in City Hall), writes:
To: Portland City Council — Commissioner Amanda Fritz , Commissioner Dan Saltzman , Commissioner Nick Fish Commissioner Steve Novick , Mayor Charlie Hales
Mayor Hales and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Novick and Saltzman:
I am writing to you today to urge you to vote for the resolution declaring that Portland is not part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. I appreciate the City’s role in keeping the public safe. As a State Senator I often had to search my conscience about decisions on public safety issues. When making those decisions, I asked the important questions: Is it right? is it just? Is it fair?
I watched the testimony given last Thursday and was proud to hear from folks representing the Center for Intercultural Organizing, the Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Voice for Peace, the ACLU and so many other important organizations and individuals who spoke eloquently about why this relationship with the FBI is counter to Portland’s best interests.
I was troubled, however, when Council cut short the testimony of Brandon Mayfield, a person who was actually harmed by so-called administration of justice. Rather than being cut off, Mr. Mayfield should have been among those invited to testify with no time limit.
The African American community, the Arab/Muslim community, the Latino community and other people of color and immigrants, as well as activists of all stripes are likely to be subjects of FBI investigations given the low level of suspicion needed to open up files. And then, if files are given to them by the Portland Police that would be illegal under our state law, we have no way to force them to purge those files.
In September, 2002, the Portland Tribune exposed the fact that Officer Winfield Falk had taken home files created by the Portland Police on hundreds of community organizations in apparent violation of ORS 181.575, Oregon’s anti-spying law. Citizens were spied upon and records were kept inappropriately. There was no way for them to know those records were being kept then, and it will be even more difficult to find out if the City signs the proposed agreement that will make any files created by the officers in the JTTF the property of the FBI.
Most troubling, the FBI has told the Mayor he will not be able to receive a security clearance, which is unacceptable. If no other Police Commissioner or Mayor has such clearance, Portland’s stand must be to act in a way that is right, just, and fair as an example to other cities, rather than going along with the status quo.
Please vote FOR staying out of the task force, and AGAINST assigning two full time officers.
Avel L Gordly
Let us all of us add to that by whatever means most persuasive to sitting politicians.