Happy Doodles

Before his death this past Saturday, Jim Spagg was best known for baring it all on late-night cable-access shows. For years, Spagg hosted several different TV programs--most of which had no central premise other than showing him and friends naked. He often said his show was for "radical yowza bowza wowza left-wing liberals," and closed his shows with his signature exclamation, "Happy doodles!"

This winter, Spagg had entered the current mayor's election, even though he didn't have much of a platform. At a recent mayor forum, his closing statements were remarkably quick: "If there's anyone here you're not interested in," he said, "give me a vote to show you're my friend." If nothing else, his sentiment was sweet and disarming.

On Saturday, Jim Spagg died. He was 64 and had leukemia. And though his notorious bare-all TV shows drew plenty of angry letters, for many others he was a true gem--a sweet-natured local oddball who wanted little more than to entertain and live a happy life.

Happy doodles, Jim! PB

Cut The Deck!

The recent public inquest into the police shooting of James Perez was intended to soothe friction between the police force and residents. But, if anything, frustration and fears about the city's police force seem to be growing.

A month ago, a recently organized group of activists, Rose City Copwatch, posted photos of two officers around town--Scott McCollister and Jason Sery. A year ago, McCollister shot and killed an unarmed black woman during a routine traffic stop. Little more than a month ago, Sery shot and killed Perez--an unarmed black man--also during a routine traffic stop. Those posters raised the ire of officers and public officials.

Last week, a group calling itself GPFX publicly posted a "Deck of Infamy"--52 playing cards, each representing "the most dangerous rogue officers in Portland" (geocities.com/policedeck).

For the past few weeks, the group had been soliciting ideas on IndyMedia. The deck plays off Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's deck of cards that features known and wanted Iraqi military leaders.

Included in the police deck is Robert King as the Ace of Diamonds. As president of the police union, King has been the most outspoken opponent to recent changes at the police bureau. He resisted Chief Foxworth's new protocol that requires officers to write a report each time they point a weapon at someone. Also included is Sgt. Mark Kruger, who is currently the named defendant in a lawsuit claiming police brutality during recent political demonstrations. Two months ago, Mercury readers voted Kruger as "Portland's Most Rotten Cop." PB