Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Protests and election loom over today’s police budget vote

Posted by on November 5th, 2020 at 11:50 am

Screengrab from video by Sergio Olmos shows officers shoving protestors to the ground last night.
(Source: @MrOlmos on Twitter)

With all the political drama of the past week, our local debate over a proposal to cut $18 million from the Portland Police Bureau seems like it happened ages ago. But it’s only been one week since Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called her council colleagues “cowardly” for not voting on her proposal.

The vote is scheduled to happen when council meets again today (11/5) at 2:00 pm.

While the faces on city council haven’t changed, Tuesday’s election is still likely to influence the vote. Hardesty endorsed her ally on the proposal, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly — who lost her race by a large margin. Following Tuesday’s vote, and after she hung-up on the council meeting in disgust before it was officially adjourned, Hardesty endorsed the challenger to current Mayor Ted Wheeler — but he won his race by a comfortable margin (although he failed to win a majority of votes thanks to a large number of write-in votes).

“This was never just about this one budget… tomorrow is not the end of our hard-fought battles in the movement for justice and accountability.”
— Jo Ann Hardesty, Portland city commissioner

All of this is likely to make it even harder for Hardesty and Eudaly to find the necessary third vote on the five-member council. Newly seated commissioner Dan Ryan was always seen as the most probably swing vote. On Tuesday he said he felt “rushed” by the process and likened it to the US Supreme Court’s handling of the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation. It’s not likely the election helped move him any further toward Hardesty’s proposal.

It’s also notable that Mayor Wheeler’s key concern about the proposal — that would lead PPB officer layoffs – has since been backed up by the City Budget Office.

Hardesty herself sounds resigned to major compromise today (which could of been her goal all along). In a statement last night she wrote, “I want to say that no matter the outcome, together we have effectively moved the conversation back to centering people and that is so important. This was never just about this one budget… tomorrow is not the end of our hard-fought battles in the movement for justice and accountability.” Those are not the words of someone who feels they have momentum on their side.

Battles on Portland streets last night once again proved why Hardesty wants to reduce the PPB budget. With Oregon State Police and National Guard Troops by their side thanks to a move by Oregon Governor Kate Brown to “keep the peace” following the election, the Portland Police Bureau once again took part in tactics that appear to be overly brutal and aggressive. Videos and witness accounts from last night show protestors being thrown to the ground for what appears to be nothing more than exercising their rights to assembly.

Hardesty and Eudaly are very likely to bring this up at council today. Whether or not it’s enough to sway Commissioner Ryan remains to be seen.

The council meeting begins at 2:00 pm and will be live on the City’s YouTube channel. Details on what the proposal would cut and what it would fund can be found below.

Hardesty’s budget amendment would reduce the PPB budget by $18,022,101. Here’s how she would get to that number (see her proposal here (PDF)):

  • Convert the portion of the Police Bureau’s one‐time cut related to the Mayor’s directed 5.6% reduction to ongoing. This totals a reduction of $4,665,885.
  • Eliminate 42 positions that were recently vacated by sworn members who retired in August. This totals a reduction of $7,169,753 and 42.0 FTE. Note that there were 48 retirements in August, but we are unable to eliminate Sergeant positions due to staffing requirements for this job class outlined in the Settlement Agreement.
  • End an IGA between the Police Bureau and the County District Attorney’s Office, where the Police Bureau is paying for 3 investigators in that office to issue subpoenas. This totals a reduction of $425,000.
  • Direct the elimination of secondary employment and further reduce overtime. This totals a reduction of $2,500,000.
  • Reduce external and internal materials and services to correspond with a reduction in FTE and reduce funding for military like supplies and munitions. This reduction totals $2,500,000.
  • Eliminate Special Emergency Response Team funding. This totals a reduction of $633,989.
  • Eliminate Rapid Response Team funding. This totals a reduction of $,633,989.

And here’s where she’d invest the money instead:

  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center food assistance program by $7,450,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center hygiene stations program by $1,075,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center outdoor shelter program by $1,050,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Special Appropriations General Fund for the Emergency Coordination Center household essentials program by $300,000 in one-time resources.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Portland Housing Bureau General Fund by $7,547,101 in one-time resources for universal eviction defense.
  • Increase external materials and services in the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability General Fund by $500,000 in one-time resources to help address the digital divide for our disabled community members.
  • Increase external materials and services in Portland Fire & Rescue General Fund by $100,000 in one-time resources for increased Crisis Intervention Training.
  • Increase General Fund Contingency Policy Set-Aside by $1,000,000 in ongoing resources for the creation of a Latinx Youth Development fund.
  • Increase General Fund Contingency policy set-aside by $2,500,000 in ongoing resources for Portland Street Response.
  • Increase General Fund unrestricted contingency by $14,522,101 in ongoing resources to provide stability to FY 2021-22’s General Fund budget, or to be available for additional emergent community needs.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Middle of the Road GuyMaddHatterHello, KittyHello, KittyCitylover Recent comment authors
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one
Guest

I’m so disappointed that JoAnn and Chloe couldn’t get a third council member to side with them on the budget last week. I have no trust in Ted Wheeler. Amanda Fritz is on her way out and could have made an impact here, but didn’t- good riddance. I feel lied to by Dan Ryan who sold himself as a progressive/ a supporter of the people.

Now it looks like MAYBE Dan Ryan might end up aligning with those who were supported by the Oregonian/ Portland Business Alliance/ Portland Police Union team, of Teargas Ted Wheeler and Mingus Mapps. And Portland takes another shift to the right. Fukc!

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Has anyone floated a specific plan that they want us to be working towards? Or is this just cutting for the sake of cutting to send the police a message, public safety be damned?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The protesters have completely lost the hearts/minds of the majority of Portland voters, which was clear from the election.

They pushed for a write-in candidate during a runoff election, which caused to Wheeler getting re-elected, then rioted when Wheeler was re-elected.

one
Guest

I think most protesters voted for Sarah Iannarone. I think almost 147 thousand of the protestors voted for Sarah.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Serious question here, what should be done with the vandalism that is coinciding with the protests? Is it just part of the protest or are the police allowed to arrest the vandals?

one
Guest

Is this a red herring or a straw man argument? I get them confused.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Red herrings and straw men can lose you elections. The vandalism is a huge issue, whether you think so or not.

Mike
Guest
Mike

People, not living in Portland, don’t think too highly of what’s gone on here. You can think you are right all day long but if it helps elect a guy like trump, what’s the point?

one
Guest

Police brutality and violence against Black people is a huge issue, whether you think so or not. All of the spray painting that happens combined is nothing compared to the violence against one Black body. Where are your priorities? We need police reform NOW.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

As much as I love a good straw man…that’s a straw man argument.

We need police reform and we need people to stop breaking stuff. How does vandalism make people want to side with your cause?

I have no problem with Black folks breaking things – they’ve earned it because they’ve been on the receiving end of racism for years.

Young white guys? Sorry – you’ve not earned the right. Be supportive and keep your hands in your pockets.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

No one has “earned” the right to vandalize the property of others, no matter how wronged they may have been. That’s just not how it works.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Some of those folks think vandalism isn’t a form of violence. Tell that to the person inside the house when it is happening….

one
Guest

All of the vandalism combined doesn’t compare to the life of one Black body. Where TF are your priorities? We need police reform now.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I agree completely — I still can’t understand why people would risk arrest or worse just to set a union office on fire.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

But why are those things frequently linked?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Your point is?

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

This issue is EXACTLY why the majority shifted toward the center. People are sick of idealogs, looters and anarchists trashing the city. Notice how last night legitimate BLM protesters wanted nothing to do with the mob.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Good write up in the New Yorker on that…

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Vandals and looters, yes. The only ideology they can honestly claim is nihilism. For comparison, here’s an example of an antifa communist anarchist: https://youtu.be/_U75pSZx5hQ

one
Guest

There is no shifting to the center. It is either shifting from left to right or right to left. Most people think they are in the center whether they are or are not. Portland is shifting (Sadly) towards the right.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I doubt that Portland is shifting much at all in either direction. It’s just your perception/understanding that’s changing. Most people take a lifetime to shift their political orientation. I only one who made big changes in a short time, a staunch libertarian who got “deprogrammed” by a new girlfriend (and even that took a couple of years). People who aren’t on the untenable extremes tend to drift slowly as they accumulate experience and get a better understanding of how the world works.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It might look that way when one shifts further to the Left.

Javier Sodo
Guest
Javier Sodo

How is redirecting massive amounts of public safety money to fund hot dog give aways and clean underwear handouts considered police reform? What a joke. I mean if this was a serious reform proposal such as designing and implementing a CAHOOTS style program (a community based public safety system) such as is being used in Eugene that would be interesting. Hardesty’s plan is a misguided waste of taxpayer money to fund a bunch of “feel good” activities in an attempt to “punish” the police bureau.

https://whitebirdclinic.org/what-is-cahoots/

one
Guest

I accidentally liked your comment before I read it all of the way through. The conversation here is not “I don’t like parts of JoAnne’s plan.” I do agree that the Eugene CAHOOTS has loads of positives. But the conversation still is: “JoAnn and Chloe are fighting for police reform, and Ted, Amanda, and Dan Ryan are digging their heels in for the status quo.” Where is Ted, Amanda, and Dan Ryan’s police reform plan you ask? Their plan is to fully fund this corrupt bureau.

Citylover
Guest
Citylover

It will be good to see what happens with the Police Oversight Committee which passed pretty overwhelmingly.

MaddHatter
Guest
MaddHatter

There’s a lot to be said for not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, but this (Hardesty’s plan, as described above) is not even the “the good”. It’s wishful thinking that digs a hole in one place to fill another. I’m not convinced PPB needs to hire back the 42 FTE that are unfilled now, but $7.5M in eviction defense (to pick just one) is a lot of money toward something that police aren’t doing now and isn’t going to reduce the demand for police services commensurate with 42 less FTE.