Three members of the Cascadia Chapter — Your Intrepid Reporter, Herschel Soles, and Celeste Soles, the elected Treasurer of the Eastside Democratic Club [which does not have many Democrats as members, actually] — were on hand to urge the so-called Citizens Review Committee to do the right thing at Wednesday evening’s hearing. Here are my observations, from the point of view of the Secretary of the Cascadia Chapter of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon.
We met on the second floor of the Portland Building, that Portlandia showcase; for some 15 minutes before the start of the meeting the new security regulations brought the former chair of the Citizens Review Committee, newly-married Mae Pfiel née Wilson, to urge Dan Handelman to move the videocamera that he uses to record the proceedings of the CRC.
Handelman wound up telephoning legal aid, and stayed where he was.
Called to order by CRC Chair Katy Malone, the meeting began with the Chair’s invocation of the new security regulations: basically, a line of chairs marks now the division of the meeting chamber into the section where the attending members of the public and the press can sit or stand, and the section where Committeemembers are allowed and those publicans are not.
The room is kind of like a courtroom, where a low bench separates the audience from the principals. That’s what exercised the Pfeil/Handelman standoff — the camera is positioned [it still was that whole meeting] slightly in advance of the line of chairs, so that the camera can record the testimony of the appellant and his advocate from the front.
After that explanation, City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero took the microphone to address the Committee: she had been present at the now-notorious 30 March CRC meeting, and apologized to Chair Malone for the false legal advice the City Attorney gave at that meeting — that the serial-interrupter Joe Walsh could not be ejected. In fact, the City Attorney was not present, the fact was indicated by a Committee member, and not explained further.
Your Intrepid Reporter speculates that the City Attorney is so discomfited by being held up in public as giving bad advice that she doesn’t want to repeat the performance.
At 5:44 the Chair announced the decision conveyed by the Acting Chief of Police that no member of the Police Bureau would attend. Discussion then focussed on whether or not the CRC would vote to compel police department attendance. Constantine Severe, director of the Independent Police Review Board — “independent”, that is, of police control, since he is supervised the the City Auditor — read the section of the City Code granting power to the CRC to compel police officer attendance.
The appellant, a bicyclist who was tasered for having protested being swiped by a car, was brought forward to give his opinion: at 6:00 exactly, he asked for his hearing to be delayed until the police could attend. His CRC-approved advisor added his assent to his client’s request, although not without a little speech demanding equal treatment before the law.
Amid much condemnation of the disrespect shown by the police boycott, in public comment Herschel S. pointed out that at the notorious 30 March CRC meeting the police officer susceptible to CRC reprimand absented himself but sent his union shop steward to represent him — that is, he showed he disrespected the CRC by not bothering to defend himself in this forum. Regina Hannon noted that the police say they are endangered by an atmosphere they cannot tolerate, yet they are the only ones in the CRC meetings who sit there with guns on their hips.
At 6:16 Committeemember Ramos (who has in the past told Your Intrepid Reporter to stop talking to Herschel, even in a low voice) moved to compel police attendance.
At 6:19, following a suggestion by Committeemember Jim Young the Committee recessed to get a boiler-plate rhetorical preamble to the motion written. Once this was ready and read out, the vote was swift and unanimous. Seven to zero to compel police attendance at the 4 May 2016 meeting.
See you there. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.