On Wednesday Portland’s mayor and city council unanimously passed a 6 million dollar plan to address a record-setting pace in gun crimes and homicides, without allotting a cent for more police or prosecutions. The new ordinance is a counter-blow to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed plan of last month to spend 2 million dollars effectively reconstituting the Portland Police Bureau’s gun/gang unit with more civilian oversight. The Gun Violence Reduction Team was disbanded last summer for “racial profiling”, without debate about its effectiveness, along with school and transit cops. A defanged version limited to investigating shootings after the fact isn’t having much of an effect.
In a remarkable demonstration of who’s in charge Wheeler’s plan was not just rejected it was met with a unanimous council passing, with Wheeler’s vote and surrender, a stimulus bill for the the local race grift industry. Two million to put more cops on the street became six million for private contractors to produce more violence prevention programs that purport to talk gangstas out of seeking retribution and strike at “root causes”. But more far-reaching than this looting of the treasury is the looting of power written into the law, seeking to further bring the police under the control of District Attorney Mike Schmidt and the office of the newly created Community Transition Safety Director, whose first day in office was April 1.
That position is expected to oversee the the city’s fire, police and emergency services–and their combined budgets–with the mandate to effect Portland’s transition to a “community based” model of safety, one with fewer police and prosecutions:
While protesters and public officials wrangle over the best path forward for policing Portland, the city is moving to hire a director of community safety to guide systemic change in all of Portland’s public safety bureaus.
Portland desperately needs some management consistency for its police, fire, emergency dispatch and emergency management bureaus amid rapidly changing elected leadership, said Tom Rinehart, a major proponent who serves as the city’s administrative officer…
“We really have a governance problem unlike any other city in the country,” said Rinehart, administrative officer in the Office of Management and Finance. “We are undertaking massive change and we have no team that is managing the projects.”
Despite getting no money, or respect, under the new initiative, the police department is directed to reassign seven cops to to investigate gun cases under the direction of radical progressive DA Mike Schmidt:
The Portland Police Bureau shall immediately realign internal resources to create
six (6) additional assault investigative detectives and one (1) sergeant to
coordinate on gun-related investigations originating from and approved by the
Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
The biggest change in this last year of tumult occurred in the city council, where earnest white progressives have been replaced by a panoply of the diverse: female, black and gay. Wheeler’s ill-fated plan was immediately shot down by three of four city commissioners–all of them new to the council–in a memo that became the new law. Two of them pass for moderates in Portland; newbie Dan Ryan balked at second round of budget cuts to police last year, as did Mingus Mapps, elected last November as a moderate favored by real estate interests over the radical Chloe Eudaly, who also voted against the cuts as too little, in a grandstanding play putting her to the left of even Jo Ann Hardesty. The constitution of the council as the city’s most diverse (notably that means not very ethnically representative of the city) and probably least experienced came suddenly; it was just 2018 that Jo Ann Hardesty won her seat and became the first black city commissioner. As it stands right now Hardesty runs the city with her coalition of like-minded and and light-minded.
The third newcomer, Carmen Rubio, is a solidly radical progressive and the memo and new law came out of her office, authored by her DACA recipient policy director. That Hardesty was a recipient of the memo and not one of its signatories may mean little, or it may mean Rubio is ambitious and emerging as a threat to Hardesty’s leadership.
Wheeler’s plan included rehiring recently retired detectives; this was just too much for the council. Police leaving and retiring in droves comes as if part of the plan, and rehiring them would be giving back hard-earned progress. Instead the new law directs the city to increase patrols of unarmed park rangers (“ambassadors of goodwill” in the founding memo), to act as “eyes on the ground”. PPB is being gradually relegated to the basement like the hapless worker in Office Space.
As for the park rangers being asked to go as ambassadors where the police went as soldiers, their union head complained rangers are already absorbing more violence in our post-BLM world and demanded “[l]evel II-A body armor to protect them from projectiles and stab threats.”
Public input was pre-empted:
It’s 11th hour placement on the City Council agenda cut members of the public off from their normal means of signing up to testify ahead of the vote.
The mayor and commissioners, however, invited nearly a dozen racial justice advocates and leaders within communities of color to offer their enthusiastic support for the compromise during Wednesday’s hearing. One after another, they delivered a collective hour of thanks and praise.
Among the backers were members of the Interfaith Peace & Action Collaborative, which had originally asked Wheeler to push for $2 million in additional one-time policing funding. The group is made up of clergy, social workers, police and Black community members who have ties to the mayor and law enforcement.
IPAC, led by black clergy, is no favorite of the dominant hard left here with its ties to police and city government and its calls to re-establish the gun unit. Wheeler’s plan was outlined in a memo from IPAC, whose representatives joined him in announcing it. IPAC is nothing if not adaptable and stands in line for some of the new law’s gibs. Nothing comes as easily or dries as rapidly as a black preacher’s tears. But now there’s virtually no one left opposing the new order.
Brrrr goes the change machine.