Four Green Party members gathered around a table at Random Order cafe on NE Alberta in Portland Thursday night, Dave Westerlund, Charlotte Miller, Herschel Soles and Your Intrepid Reporter. The Cascadia Chapter was having its weekly meeting. The first two had struggled all the way across town, from Mt. Scott to the King neighborhood to attend, and made it on time even though a police car was blocking traffic a block or two down the road. It was dark and drizzly night.
The subject of Jobs with Justice came up, and Herschel explained to Charlotte that that group is the leading umbrella organization for activists concerned with economic justice in our city. Charlotte wanted specific detail, so he told of the time JwJ helped airport workers organize union representation by organizing a demonstration at the workplace in their support. Charlotte wanted to know what the workers did, and Herschel responded that they cooked meals for the airlines. Secondly, Herschel continued, JwJ has concerned itself with immigration. Their annual meeting, at the Eighteenth Street Peace House, is a big event, at which the Grinch of the Year is elected.
Your intrepid reporter reported attending Sunday last the obsequies for Moises Aguirre, the murdered son of the immigrant labor leader Francisco Aguirre, whose refuge last year in the Augustana Lutheran Church on NE Knott I had helped guard for some three months. At the service I passed Jill Stein’s recent statement denouncing blanket deportation of Central American refugees to Francisco, who is from El Salvador (where the side sponsored by the U.S. in 1980 assassinated the Roman Catholic archbishop — by action of Pope Francis now officially the Blessed Oscar Romero).
I asked Charlotte how she happened, as she reported the other day, to have spent a summer working at the New Ocean House, overlooking the beach in Marblehead my family swam at, from 1954 on (until my parents went to a group home, in the 90s). In the early 50s, she responded, she and two other girls (“a short blonde and two tall brunettes”) decided they wanted to visit Cape Cod, so they hitch-hiked unaccompanied cross-country shortly after getting out of [what your intrepid reporter takes to have been secondary] school. It was a report from another country, from the distant past.
The first ride got the three as far as Ohio somewhere, and they continued, sometimes interviewing the successive drivers who stopped for them, until they got to a gas station in upstate New York. There they met a man whose aunt was head of housekeeping at this fancy hotel on the water in Swampscott, near the Marblehead line. They took him up on the offer of work, and stayed the summer, meeting young men from Amherst as well as elderly vacationers from New York City.
Dave Westerlund made me promise to bring Herschel a copy of the Nuclear Resister. Ron Daggett, longtime president and officer of the Eastside democratic Club, died late last spring; speaking of the EdC, Charlotte reprimanded your intrepid reporter for commenting under my breath while a speaker was addressing the EdC. A recorder may not speak while recording, she asserts, “that’s basic.”
Herschel and I in a few days will visit, candidate and campaign manager, the directions for filing posted on the Secretary of State’s website. That will mark the start of my candidacy.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.