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Me For Mayor!

Another Rant From Mayoral Candidate Phil Busse

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Last week, the Police Assessment Resource Center, a LA-based non-profit, released a 222-page report looking at 32 deadly police shootings by Portland police over a three year period from 1997 to 2000. Ultimately, the report lambastes police policies that have let these officers go largely unpunished. Last week, seemingly using that report as a springboard, Katz forced out police chief Mark Kroeker.

Why "seemingly"? After routinely backing up the chief through a series of controversies, Katz refuses to reveal her reasons for forcing him out. In fact, she won't even say if she was her or an intermediary that gave Kroeker the boot.

To further confuse matters, last week when asked point blank if she was going to ask Kroeker to resign, she said no. But at Tuesday's press conference announcing new police chief, Derrick Foxworth (see page 8), she took a familiar road dodging questions about Kroeker's demise.

It is an odd and ambiguous approach to public office, one that Katz has perfected in her past 11 years as mayor. By refusing to take responsibility for her actions, Katz has established a protocol where there is zero accountability for any action or decision.

A primary flaw pointed out in the bureau's scathing report card was that "many [police] reports did not seek to draw lessons from the shooting incidents." But that approach should come as no surprise when Katz--who oversees the police bureau--not only allows such conduct, but sets a repeated example of glossing over every controversy.

While most of the shootings in the report occurred before Kroeker became chief, he nevertheless lorded over a three year period marred by several atrocities--including a peaceful demonstration where an infant was pepper-sprayed, and, most recently, a woman who was killed during a routine traffic stop. But while announcing the new chief, Katz gave no indication this cycle of police misconduct will end. She did not announce new administrative rules to change how investigations into police shootings are conducted. She also did not announce a new, viable police review board, one that has the power to investigate and question officers. In fact, as usual, she refused to directly answer any question from the press.

As long as the mayor continues to treat responsibility and accountability with a grain of salt, it's doubtful anything will change--and the revolving door of police chiefs will keep on spinning. PHIL BUSSE

Me For Mayor!

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