As the week began, America hit a pretty ugly milestone—US armed forces have now been in Iraq for a longer amount of time than they were fighting the Axis in World War II. So, with the anniversary of Pearl Harbor looming, City Commissioner Randy Leonard has finally decided to put an end to the occupation.

Symbolically, anyway. Thursday afternoon, November 30, Leonard is finally bringing forward his resolution to call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. It's one of those "important statement" kinds of things—obviously, the Portland City Council has about as much power to redeploy US troops as it does to give every young girl in America a pony for Christmas—but it's the thought that counts. And in Portland, it's a pretty safe bet that the sentiment is widely shared; if you want to see a room full of people all agreeing with each other, city hall on Thursday at 2 pm is the place to be.

And if a symbolic resolution doesn't work to end the war, maybe the power of hiphop will? On Wednesday, November 22, city council was treated to a phat joint (and by that, I mean "pleasant song") by four kids from the Ethos Music Center's hiphop class. Their track—about "shootings, killings, robberies, and so many lives lost"—was part of Mayor Tom Potter's ongoing effort to gauge the health of Portland's youngsters. Let's just say these kids weren't terribly optimistic. They did a great job, but—just for the record—the city council chamber probably isn't the most natural setting for a hiphop gig, what with the bad sound system, labored decorum, and all those upper-class white guys. Okay, that last part might be pretty typical of the Portland hiphop experience.

Speaking of upper-class white guys! Commissioner Sam Adams held a "town hall" meeting on Tuesday morning, November 28, to talk about his ideas to reform the business license fee. At the butt-busting hour of 7:30 am, Adams' staffer Warren Jiminez explained the plan to a room full of small business owners. (Adams couldn't make the meeting because he was up all night scraping ice from every road in the city—or he was late because his car wouldn't start. Either way.) The consensus among those gathered seemed to be, "Do what you want, as long as we can keep crying about how business-unfriendly Portland is."

Spotted Tuesday morning entering Dan Saltzman's office: Newly elected County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, there to clean out his office—he's now officially Saltzman's ex-chief of staff. Brendan Finn has assumed the title (and office, presumably). Democracy rolls on.

Phat joints accepted at all hours: smoore@portlandmercury.com